Discussions continue on Midstate Corridor highway project

Southwestern Indiana officials have met with Gov. Eric Holcomb and the state's transportation commissioner in their continuing efforts to get a four-lane, limited-access highway built to ease traffic congestion in the region.

The Midstate Corridor group's recent meeting with Indiana's governor comes as local officials and business leaders hope the Indiana Department of Transportation will make the proposed regional bypass more of a priority, The Herald of Dubois County reported .

"It wasn't negative in any way," Dubois County Commissioner Elmer Brames said of the meeting.

The Midstate Corridor would run north from Owensboro, Kentucky, go around Huntingburg and Jasper and continue north to connect to Interstate 69. That highway would ease traffic on U.S. 231 between I-64 and I-69 through Dubois, Martin and Spencer counties, organizers have said.

The highway would be about 37 miles long and cost an estimated $300 million to build.

Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness said he's worried about the road running through a national forest in Orange County.

Brames said he still believes the project is being looked at favorably.

A memorandum of understanding between the Transportation Department and the Regional Development Authority has been submitted, Brames said. It was sent back to a local attorney for minor changes, he said.

The group hopes the memorandum will be signed in June. The project will then receive a number and be eligible for federal funding if the Transportation Department approves the project.

The project needs $7 million for a feasibility study. Officials from Dubois County, the city of Jasper and the city of Huntingburg met earlier in May to discuss local contributions for the study, which would add up to about half of the cost.

The county would contribute about 47 percent of the funding, said Jerry Hunefeld, president of the County Council. The county would use the roughly $800,000 it receives in income tax revenue for three years to fund the contribution.

The funding breakdown for the cities has yet to be determined, Hunefeld said.

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